by Robert Weissman
Predictably, the cheerleaders for corporate globalization are bemoaning the collapse of World Trade Organization negotiations.
“This is a very painful failure and a real setback for the global economy when we really needed some good news,” said Peter Mandelson, the European Union’s trade commissioner. Continue reading Celebrate, Don’t Mourn, Collapse of WTO Talks
|As fuel prices rocket, a new world energy order is emerging. It will bring with it a fierce international competition for dwindling stocks of oil, natural gas, coal and uranium, and also an epochal shift in power and wealth from energy-deficit states such as the US, Japan and the newly-industrialising China to energy-surplus states such as Russia, Venezuela and the oil producers of the Middle East. Michael Klare examines the likely consequences of the growing competition for the soon-to-be diminishing supply of energy
Oil at $150 a barrel, up sevenfold in six years. Unleaded touching £1.20 per gallon, diesel at more than £1.30 at even the cheapest UK pumps. Gasoline at $4.50-plus – an undreamt-of height – in the US, with diesel topping $5, forcing many truckers off the road. Home heating oil at prices that many cannot afford. Jet fuel so expensive that the major carriers have cut back on routes and some low-cost airlines have ceased flying altogether. Continue reading The end of the world as we know it
Global food prices have risen dramatically, adding a new level of danger to the crisis of world hunger. In Africa, food riots have swept across the continent, with recent protests in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania and Senegal. In most of West Africa, the price of food has risen by 50 percent—in Sierra Leone, 300 percent. In the United States there has been a 41 percent surge in prices for wheat, corn, rice and other cereals over the past six months. We speak with Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System. More
Peru has declared a state of emergency in jungle areas where indigenous groups are blocking oil and gas installations in protest at a new land sale law. The measure allows the authorities to send in troops and bans public gatherings for 30 days. Some 65 Amazon tribes say the law will make it easier for big energy companies to buy up their land, parts of which are known to be rich in oil and gas. The indigenous people have been demonstrating for more than a week at hydro-electric dams and oil and gas installations in three different parts of Peru’s Amazon basin.They are angry at a law which they say makes it easier for investors to buy their land because it lowers the bar for consent from two-thirds of a community assembly to a simple majority.
The legislation is one of a number of laws being passed as part of Peru’s free trade agreement with the US. More
“Instead of holding these companies to account for their actions,” says John Hilary, executive director of War on Want, a UK-based anti-poverty group. “Gordon Brown has allowed them to portray themselves as allies in the fight against poverty. The prime minister should be working to address the poverty and human rights problems caused by business, not giving the companies a free ride.” More
Multinationals make billions in profit out of growing global food crisis – The Independent
Speculators blamed for driving up price of basic foods as 100 million face severe hunger. Monsanto reported net income for the three months up to the end of February this year had more than doubled. Cargill’s net earnings soared by 86 per cent and Archer Daniels Midland increased its net earnings by 42 per cent. More
Globalisation is good for you – Red Pepper
Many socialists look to the state as the decisive instrument of social change. Nigel Harris argues that, on the contrary, nation states, with their priorities and resources focused on maintaining power through military might, hold back the reduction of poverty. He insists that globalisation, despite all of its ambiguities, is essentially a liberation from the shackles of the competing nation state. We have to look to NGOs and social and labour movements to constrain the market, he says.